Carolyn Hax: Life milestones mean responsibility

April 22, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion, and continued from Monday.

Dear Carolyn: I agree with you that I shouldn't be more focused on "checking the box" (of marriage) than on enjoying Boyfriend himself; I'll cop to having a bit of box-checking anxiety. Marriage is something that's valued highly among my friends and family, and, as indicated, I'm among the last to get there.

(But) I love Boyfriend and want to be his wife, have children with him, buy a home together, etc.

ANONYMOUS AGAIN

Marriage, kids, mortgage - these, sometimes, are miserable for people. I don't mean to sound so cynical, because I'm actually not. It's just that each of these life milestones is a joyous celebration for about a minute, followed by sometimes lifelong responsibilities.

And so the White Picket Fence package can't reasonably be pursued as a package for its own sake, because the individual elements don't work together that way. The only high-percentage path is to think of marriage if and only if you meet the person you can see yourself having in your life for the duration. With kids, you have them if and only if you're in a stage of life where you can and want to give a good life to a child - or if you can get there between the oops-discovery and the due date. Buying a home is what you do when it makes financial sense to.

Hi, Carolyn: For the past two years I have been seeing a great therapist. I've made a lot of progress - so much so that I've reached a point where I don't think I need therapy anymore. I now feel like I can deal with any residual depression/anxiety issues on my own.

But, it's going to be hard to say goodbye to my therapist. This might sound weird, but it feels like breaking up with a friend. Any thoughts?

BREAKING UP WITH MY THERAPIST

Taper! There's no reason you have to lose her phone number. In fact, people who have had successful therapy (congratulations!) often find they benefit from occasional tune-ups. See if you feel better about leaving after making an appointment for, say, 30 days from now.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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